MEREDITH, GEORGE (1828-1909)
AUTOGRAPH MANUSCRIPT AND REVISED TYPESCRIPT OF HIS POEM 'THE CALL', 135 lines in all in 12 and 13 five-line stanzas, written in Meredith's later shaky handwriting, both with autograph revisions and corrections preserving reconsidered readings, the typescript signed twice ('George Meredith') with an additional autograph stanza beginning 'The grandeur of her deeds recall.' and a note to the compositor on a final page 'To be reset, with the additional verse, & returned to me', 12 pages, quarto and oblong quarto, Box Hill, Dorking, no date [but c.1909]
Under what spell are we debased By fears for our inviolate Isle...
The grandeur of her deeds recall;
Look on her face so kindly fair:
This Britain! & were she to fall, Mankind would breathe a harsher air, The nations miss a light of leading rare.
THIS IS THE ONLY KNOWN MANUSCRIPT OF THE POEM (Rosenbaum and White).
'The Call', one of Meredith's poems on national affairs -- a plea for Britain ('Salispotent' in the poem) to stand firm against the European nation with the largest army ('Exercitus' in the poem) -- was first published in the Oxford and Cambridge Review, 1908, and then in Last Poems, 1909. The typescript, with the revisions and additional stanza, constitutes the text as printed.
PROVENANCE: Phillips, 16 March 1989, lot 96; John Wilson.
REFERENCES: Index of English Literary Manuscripts, Volume IV, 1800-1900, Part I, compiled by Barbara Rosenbaum and Pamela White, 1993, McG 94; Location Register of Twentieth-Century Literary Manuscripts and Letters, 2 volumes, 1988.